Scientific Name: Solenopsis
Appearance: Red/copper brown in color with distinguished head, thorax, and abdominal regions; pinchers and antennae protrude from the front
Size: 0.025-0.25 in.
What is a Fire Ant?
Fire ants are an invasive species. Their first appearance in North American was in Alabama dating back to the 1930’s. Fire ants spread throughout much of the southern states as the climate was preferable to them. Fire ants thrive and mate when soil temperatures are between 70-95 degrees F and are most active in the spring and fall. Fire ants are predators and are known to have a painful sting when disrupted.
Male and female winged fire ants will fly into the air during mating season and the females will return to the ground to lay eggs. About 1% of these females survive their landing and they will lay anywhere between 100,000-300,000 eggs per year for up to 7 years. Worker ants will secrete an enzyme that breaks down solid food to liquid and will help feed the young and Queen by passing the liquified food to each other. The Queen fire ant is the last to take in food, in order to preserve her in cases that the food is tainted.
Why do I have Fire Ants?
Since fire ants are an invasive species they do not have any natural predators to help control their populations. This leads to the potential of an abundance of fire ants in areas that food is accessible and the climate is appropriate.
Fire ants are most active in the spring and fall during in which time they forage for food and bring it back to their colony. Fire ants create extensive tunnels underground that can go unnoticed. Mounds will often appear at the surface after rainstorms as their underground tunnels begin to flood.
How do I get rid of Fire Ants?
Managing fire ants can be very difficult as colonies are extensive and large portions of them remain hidden underground. The most effective way to control and eradicate fire ant colonies is with baiting techniques. Since fire ants pass food to each other the best method is to spread bait during their foraging seasons and rely on the workers to pass the bait to their colony. It can take multiple treatments and time to eradicate the colony.
It is recommended to have a professional pest control specialist aid in controlling fire ants as they have access to high quality products and baits that can help speed along the control process. Click Here for Details on our General Pest & Outdoor Plan.
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